Have you heard the term “borrowed confidence”? This post is about that.
What is borrowed confidence?
Borrowed confidence is a temporary boost to your confidence and belief in yourself or your abilities. Someone else lends that confidence to you because they believe in you even though you don’t believe in yourself at that moment.
This phrase has come up so much recently in my business and with others I’m close to. I’m in masterminds and groups, and we talk about different things. I feel like there are so many times when we doubt ourselves.
Angel on your shoulder
When you’re an entrepreneur, you go through seasons. It’s so funny, the way my wife and I joke about our urges to spend or save. There are times when I’m in a mood to be smart with money and save; then there are times when I’m in the mood to jump on Amazon or the Apple store and spend a ton of money.
My wife is usually the one who says, “No, we’re trying to save money. We’re trying to pay off our house. We’re trying to do these things.” She’s making sure I’m making smart decisions.
At other times, she’s not wanting to make smart decisions. She might say something like, “Let’s eat out tonight.” She’s a mother of two young children. Exhaustion is her life, so of course she’d like to have someone else prepare dinner sometimes.
Then it’s my turn to remind her of our financial goals, and when it’s not in the budget, I get to be the good husband and make dinner.
It’s really funny because usually one of us is the angel on the other’s shoulder when they’re being tempted. It’s rare that we’re both in the mood to spend money at the same time. Now, sometimes we do. And we do budget to go out to eat sometimes, but it’s just so funny because being each other’s financial conscience works the same way that borrowed confidence does.
At the Total Life Freedom retreat in St. Augustine, Florida, at the end of February 2022, I kept encouraging people like my friend MJ James, who’s an amazing ghostwriter, Kent Sanders, Dan Hinz—all these different people. I kept telling them that they are amazing at what they do, whether it’s editing videos or podcasting or ghostwriting.
During those conversations, the term “borrowed confidence” kept coming up. They kept saying, “Well, I’m going to borrow that confidence from you.” It’s so interesting because I believed in them in that moment more than they believed in themselves.
It was hilarious because I spoke all these things to people, such as, “You need to be confident. You need to charge more money. You need to do this. You need to do that” and then I came home to that amazing referral from Melissa Bloom for that one-million-dollar-plus listing and felt like such an imposter.
Needing some borrowed confidence
I had just spent weeks with people on mastermind calls or in person at the TLF retreat in Florida, telling them how amazing they were and how they shouldn’t doubt themselves, and how they should do this and that in their business, and how they were totally worthy to raise prices. And then I came home and felt unworthy of a listing that was bigger than I was accustomed to. It was comical.
On our mastermind call when I told them about landing that listing, Jennifer Harshman said to me, “You’re amazing at this. You’re going to do a great job, and soon, more million-dollar listings will come to you.” Then she said, “You can borrow that confidence from me.”
It was hilarious because what I had giving others “borrowed confidence” for a couple of weeks, encouraging them and saying things like, “Trust yourself.”
They would respond, “Wow, I wish I believed in myself as much as you believe in me.”
The entire journey as entrepreneurs—as Realtors—could be one of borrowed confidence. This is why I believe in the power of mentorship, accountability, and hard conversations. All of those things speak to having a community around you, people to lift you up, people to put pressure on you.
Benefits of a mastermind or community
That’s one joy of being a part of a mastermind group or community. Sometimes it’s exciting to push people and grow and be a part of their journey.
And then other times, it’s scary as hell. You have something happen like I did, where you’re encouraging people for a while, then something happens, and you’re not confident in yourself.
When I don’t believe in myself, I have amazing people around me like Rhonda and her team at Inspire, and the 30-some odd people that are part of the mastermind groups such as TLF.
They get to be my board of directors telling me, “John, we believe in you. Here. Borrow our confidence.” They encourage me to go get a seat at the table.
Charting your progress in business
When you’re building things so fast and things grow like my business has grown, you often are so busy building that you forget to stop and enjoy the success or reflect on how far you’ve come.
I often look at myself with the podcast or my real estate business and sure, I tripled my income. Sure, the podcast has grown a ton in the last year, but I sometimes still feel like I’m not doing anything or doing things faster.
That’s where borrowed confidence comes in, when someone believes in you in that moment more than you believe in yourself. Charting your progress is also extremely helpful. Keep track. Then look back.
Looking back on growth
Recently, at the Total Life Freedom retreat in St. Augustine, my amazing friend Ken Carfagno and I were talking about the podcast and the things I was doing, and I said, “I feel like I’m not doing some of these things fast enough.”
And Ken said, “John, I’m going to send you a Zoom video.” About a week later, after we got home from the trip, he did. He sent me a recording and said, “I want you to hear this. And then I want you to stop talking about how you’re not growing fast enough.” The video was of a mastermind call from not that long ago, with me talking about my podcast and its size and early struggles.
Now, the show is so much bigger and has three times as many episodes per week as it did then, and it’s gotten so much easier for me. By sending me that video, Ken showed me how far I’ve come. He also let me borrow the confidence he had in me to remind myself that I actually am doing great things.
Putting borrowed confidence to use
We need to borrow confidence from others and to lend people confidence from us. If you’re feeling down, from whom can you borrow confidence? Who believes in you in the moment more than you believe in yourself?
When you’re feeling strong, lend confidence to someone else because they really need it in this journey. Pick someone to encourage with kind words and say, “I believe in you. You’re doing amazing. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
I appreciate you so much for being a part of this journey.
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